La Martellina B&B – Gay Friendly Tuscan B&B

Author: , November 7th, 2018

La Martellina B&B

Romantic B & B in an ancient 13th century mill, near Florence, Tuscany.

Only 7 km from the center of Florence, the old mill of the thirteenth century, spends quiet days on the banks of the Arno. Only the background murmur of the river you whisper in the ears! Located near a small village is completely surrounded by green countryside.

A lovely garden and a hearty breakfast awaits you in the morning and let you enjoy a pleasant stay, will offer you a pleasant break of tranquility and a lovely small swimming pool, after the day visiting monuments and museums that in summer can be very tiring.

The 4 rooms, bathrooms and a common hall occupy a wing that is completely reserved to guests, and are decorated carefully selecting furniture and furnishings to accentuate the unique character. The rooms are equipped with a refrigerator and television with satellite-dish television.

See the La Martellina B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Florence Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals


Inside the Pisa Cathedral – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , September 7th, 2018

Pisa Cathedral - Keep Calm and Wander

The Pisa Cathedral marks the zenith of the architectural power of Pisa at the time of its creation by having bits from the Islamic, Byzantine, Lombard-Emilian, and classical architecture. Lying peacefully in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square), it gleams in multi-colors, courtesy of the different types of marbles that it is adorned with, especially cosmatesque marble.

1. The marble facade

Unlike the exterior, the cathedral’s interior depicts much more decorations and ornamentations. The Romanesque façade of the cathedral is made of pastel-colored marble that is designed divinely by the students of Giambolongna.

While the three doors leading inside were constructed or cast after the deadly fire of 1595, an original door “The Door of San Ranieri” designed by Bonnano Pisano still stands and provides a way in from the southern transept.

2. Medieval and Renaissance art

The interior of the cathedral has a mixture of the Renaissance and Medieval architecture. This mixture has been a result of the fire of 1595. After the destruction of most of the Medieval parts of the cathedral, they were rebuilt in the Renaissance style as it was popular back then.

The surviving Medieval pieces include Tomb of Emperor Henry VII, originally sculpted by Tino di Camaino, and the pulpit by Giovanni Pisano, which has been recently placed in its original place after being found dismantled.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Pisa Gay Travel Resources

Italy our 25th Anniversary Trip- Planning

Author: , September 23rd, 2015

rome-day-3-11My husband Dave and I celebrated twenty five (25) years as a couple on September 19th, 2015.  Almost a year ago we decided to plan a big trip to Italy for our celebration. We needed to decide,  did we want to go on a tour or did we want to plan and arrange the trip on our own.  We looked at all of the Gay Travel websites to see if any were going to Europe and more particularly Italy in September or October.

We researched to see if Atlantis or RSVP were going to Europe and we compared the costs of taking a cruise or tour as opposed to arranging the trip on our own. The numbers are comparable.   Last year we went on a trip to Austria and Germany(Oktoberfest) through a gay travel agency.

Al & Chuck did a fantastic job but as with any organized tour you go according to their schedule. Dave and I are in our mid fifties and decided we would have plenty of time in the future to go on organized tours and wanted the flexibility and the challenge of arranging our own trip.

We decided to make all the plans on our own using the Purple Roofs Website to help us find gay friendly places and accommodations. We like meeting new people so this seemed like a nice compromise since we hoped using Purple Roofs we would meet gay people. Next we needed to decide do we rent a car or take a train.

Of course, we got plenty of horror stories of Italian drivers. I enjoy driving and Dave likes to be in the passenger seat so rent a car gave us the maximum amount of freedom. We would take trains in the cities thereby avoiding driving in Rome or Florence.

My name is Bryan and my husband Dave and I love to travel. We are New Yorkers who moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida six years ago.  We are both are still working professionals and have limited vacation time available. We take a few small trips a year and one two week trip in the fall. Getting out of the summer heat of Florida is why we choose to take a big trip in either September or October.  I feel our recent planning of our 25th anniversary trip to Italy can be helpful to others who might want to plan a trip on their own. We rented a car and went from Rome to the Amalfi Coast, then through Tuscany,  Venice, Florence and places in between.

Italy is Calling Me

Author: , June 2nd, 2014

Colosseum - Rome, ItalyI know, I have been very lax about blogging. I usually just blog while traveling, but life here in California is pretty good, too. Sunshine, good weather…I have been trying to get my yard pretty and inviting, as it is so nice to sit on the patio. In the evening, watch the birds eat and drink, and just relax.

So, although it is lovely out here, I am getting excited about getting away again. I am usually in Italy at this time of year, so I am really ready to go back.

This year, we stayed here as there were graduations and a wedding to attend, great-grandchildren to play with, family get-together that I really enjoy. However, Italy is calling me. There is just something about Italy that keeps drawing me back.

This is the Arena in Verona. This old Roman amphitheater is over 2000 years old. It is the only Roman amphitheater that is still being used. In the summer, the Opera is performed here, and the acoustics are amazing. I have been fortunate to have attended opera performances here twice in the past, but I am extremely excited now, as I have tickets to hear Placido Domingo in concert here in July, and also see a performance of “Carmen” the following night. I can hardly wait!

Then I will be traveling to the hill town of Montepulciano to take a 4 week Italian language course. I just know if I am there, I will be able to absorb the language so much easier than I can by taking classes in the USA. Besides, if that doesn’t work well, Montepulciano also makes some of the finest red wine in all of Italy, so I will be able to drown any sorrows I might have.

Ah, then there is the Cinque Terre. This is the main square of Vernazza, my favorite of the five villages that comprise the Cinque Terre. On the hikes, the scenery is fabulous. One can walk from village to village via the trail system, although last year some trails were closed, for maintenance or repair of landslides, but there is always another trail to follow, or just go to Monterosso, rent a chair and umbrella, and relax at the seashore.

Italy calls me for many reasons. One is the more relaxed lifestyle..people just don’t get as stressed as we Americans do.. Italians also live longer than we do…the life expectancy there is about 4 years longer than ours.

Then there is the food. Where do I start with that?

A simple tortellini soup tastes wonderful on a chilly evening. I love going to the Mercato, finding the fresh vegetables, fruit, meats, cheeses, house-made fresh pastas, and I don’t have to worry whether they are organic or GMO- free, because they are. And the foods just taste so much better.

Exploring new places is another reason Italy is calling me back. Where else could I find treasures like the Trulli houses in Alberobello
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Meeting new people, making new friends. These are all part of the Italy experience for me. So, yes, I am ready, mentally, to be back in Italy. I appreciate my family and Frank for understanding that, although I am not, by genetics, Italian, I certainly am an Italian wannabe!

I trust you will follow my adventures as I go back to my other homeland.

Oh, yes, before I go to Italy, my S.O. (Significant Other), Frank Garcia and I will be taking a 2 week Rhine and Mosel trip. I will be back in Europe, so I know I will feel like I am almost “home” again. I will post blogs on that trip, also.

Ciao for now. Keep traveling with me.


P.S. There is another lady blogger who loves Italy as much as I do. If you want to see Italy from her perspective, check out Margie In Italy. She has also written 2 books about her travels.

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Adam and Steve Travel

Author: , April 29th, 2014

Adam & Steve TravelPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Adam and Steve travel, alias Giacomo & Francesco travel. First, we travel to the trips in person, then we plan them carefully, write them up, and guide small groups (gay and why not, straight) to various destinations of interest in Italy and Spain. We love what we do and have doing so since 10 years compiling some magic trips!

See the Adam and Steve Travel Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Italy

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: My Gay Friendly Italy

Author: , April 16th, 2014

My Gay Friendly ItalyPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

As a gay Italian, I can take you to all the hidden places in Italy, and provide gay friendly lodging off the beaten path in this beautiful country.

See My Gay Friendly Italy’s Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Italy

Florence in Four Hours

Author: , January 23rd, 2014

Florence - Carlos, MeliaDuring our last visit to Italy, we spent two night in Florence… well actually in Fiesole at the lovely and exclusive Villa San Michele by Orient-Express, we came down to Florence a few times to explore the city and also to enjoy some lovely dinners like the one we had at the Il Palaggio by Four Seasons Firenze.

The fact that Villa San Michele had a regular shuttle connecting the hotel with the Piazza de la Repubblica in only 15 minutes, made our stay truly magical allowing us to enjoy the best of Florence as a traditional destination, and the peace and charm of the Fiesole, overlooking Florence from the top of the hills.

For our tours, same as in Rome and Venice, we hired the expert services of Andiamo Travel and their staff of local knowledgeable and professional guides. In only a few hours, on a very tight schedule to see three main destinations in only 6 days, they managed to give us a full introduction to each of them.

Carlos Melia - FlorenceClick the link below for our photo tour of our four hours exploring Florence, by Andiamo Travel, which included: Piazza della Signoria, The Loggia della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Il Duono at Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Michelangelo’s House, The Baptistery of John the Baptist with the bronze doors (reproductions – the originals are in the Duomo Museum) and of course Ponte Vecchio.

Take a short break for lunch, perhaps at Cucina Tradizionale Boccadama while visiting Pizza Santa Croce or at Cantinetta Antinori. We later continued to the Artistic Studio of I Mosaici di Lastrucci store, Chiesa Santa Margherita dei Cerchi, ancient church to have been the location of Dante Alighieri’s marriage, and also contains several tombs including Dante’s great love Beatrice Portinari.

The following day, on our own we took two hours to explore the Uffizi Gallery, holding the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art, at our own pace, (BTW buy your ticket online weeks before arrival to Florence. Uffizi Gallery is one of the busiest museums in Italy), before heading to the train station to move on to our next destination, Venice.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in Florence.

Firenze and Lucca

Author: , May 15th, 2013

Lucca AmphitheaterOur dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

As you know, we are now in Florence. We are going and going. Seems like we are moving all the time. Just trying to remember all the places we have been, and put them into some sort of order, is our biggest problem. Now, don’t you wish you had come along with us? What a fabulous adventure so far, and we are far from being finished. OMG. Where else in the world would you be discussing whether your building is 400 year old or 600 years old? Or whether Villa d’Este was in Rome, Tivoli or Sorrento? (The correct answer is Tivoli).

Yes, Cindy, we are all together in Florence. I love these 2 persons as much as you do, so I will not lose them. What a wonderful item time we are having.

We had a lovely 2 nights in Orvieto. You have seen the blog from there already, so I won’t elaborate on that, except to tell you, if you come to the Tuscany/Umbria region, be sure to go to Orvieto.

On Sunday, we tried to go to Mass at the Cathedral in Orvieto , but we had to leave early, as we had to catch the train to Florence.

We arrived in the early afternoon in Florence. First order of the day was to get to the apartment then up to Piazzale Michelangelo, to see the finish of the Giro d’Italia…

Well, I passed on that, as not more than 5 minutes after we had gotten into the apartment, the rain started, and fell in bucketsful, but Kiri, Patrick and Suzanna were determined to see the finish of the bike race up at the Piazzale Michalangelo. I don’t know who was happier to see the race end…the bikers or my friends.

Monday morning we woke up to sunny skies. No clouds anywhere. . Our big adventure for that day was going to the San Ambrogio mercato. I showed everyone my favorite places to buy meat, chicken, fruits and vegetables. Then we brought all our “goodies” home, and set off for the street market at San Lorenzo. And then a tour though the Straw Market, to the Porcellino…the Good Luck Pig…if you rub his nose, tradition says that you will return to Florence. I make sure I always rub his nose.

That night, we cooked up the wonderful pork roast with roasted potatoes. I am in heaven! There is nothing I love more than preparing the delicious, natural foods from the mercato. We had brought one of the gigantic lemons from Sorrento, so now we made the fantastic lemon- lettuce salad that we could only enjoy with this wonderful Cedric lemon from Sorrento.

Today we went to Lucca. Rain is predicted for most of the rest of the week. And I wanted to be certain that we got to Lucca on a nice day, so everyone would have a chance to either bike or walk the ramparts. The old wall around the old city of Lucca. And we had a marvelous time.
We arranged a meeting time, as I was the only one who didn’t want to bike. But I wanted to explore some of the old favorite places, and I found new favorites. The kids climbed up to the top of Torre Guinigi, where trees have been growing for ever so many years, and no one knows how they can live, with very little soil..amazing.

After we got back home. (And this apartment feels like home to me), we did some grocery shopping, had a Happy Hour drink at the OK Bar, then made dinner here. Risotto, sausages with peppers and onions, and the last of our lemon salad. I am sad. We will never be able to have that salad again until we return to Sorrento and get more Cedric lemons.

Tomorrow we are going to San Gimignano. And then another dinner here in the apartment. I love cooking here. The food we buy is so fresh and tasteful. I love that I have to scrub real dirt off the potatoes. And know that all the fresh food is organic. Not because it is labeled that way, just because that is the way the food is grown.

Would I move to Italy? Probably not, because my family is not here, but I love Italy. Being here brings me the greatest pleasure. I am more relaxed, I am so happy here. But I love showing off my Italy to others. Won’t you come along with me next time?

Want to Follow Bella’s Latest Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

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